The Week shows white Boston terrorists as brown

9:10 am - April 30th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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The Week is a British magazine, with an American edition.

Its American edition this week illustrates the Boston bombers.

Note their skin tone: it isn’t white. They look brown, even though US authorities describe them as white.

I find this interesting because one would almost think the magazine wanted to pretend white people can’t be terrorists.

Here’s the cover on their website.

(via Brofiling and @Dem_Tilly)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

1. the a&e charge nurse

Yes, that’s it – the article clearly implies whitey would never hurt anybody with a bomb – thanks for such a penetrating insight.

2. So Much for Subtlety

They do not look particularly brown to me. A little Middle Eastern perhaps, but nothing unusual.

As for the media and its attitudes, this may be a problem with one outlet. But the general problem with the Boston bombings was the exact opposite – everyone rushing to assume a White person did it. I point to this cartoon as particularly shameful:

I do not expect LC to write an article about it though. Any more than I expect anyone here to comment on this:

But perhaps someone should.

My word. Sunny finds out that not all Caucasians have white skin. World collapses.

That all from the sub-continent are also Caucasians seems to have escaped him.

Nice try Tim, but they ARE white – even the FBI says so

“Nice try Tim, but they ARE white”

In Americanese “white” means “not Hispanic and not African American (or Pacific Islander etc)”. “White” encompasses a number of skin tones. Greeks, Turks, Caucasians (as in from the Caucasus etc) plus the white and pinkish of the Scandinavians etc.

Were they UKIPpers? We should be told!

7. the a&e charge nurse

‘they ARE white’ – never miss a chance to find a victimhood angle even though the real outrage should be reserved for islamic nutters blowing people up (again).

Same things with the recent Dawkins thread – apparently we should be focussing on Richard ‘pathetically confused bigot’ Dawkins rather than people who believe in winged horses, and who regard atheists as ‘cattle’.

Note their skin tone: it isn’t white. They look brown, even though US authorities describe them as white.

I’m not sure that there’s much of a discrepancy between the pictures and the photos is there? Certainly the older one looks more or less the same shade.

Perhaps the lesson here is that ‘white’ is a meaninglessly broad definition that encompasses pretty much every skin tone from Tilda Swinton to Tom Jones.

Errr. This is just a how water based illustration works Sunny. You ever tried painting a white face on a white canvas before? The same magazine published a cover with Prince Charles on it last year looking decidedly dark.

This is verging on Alex Jones territory. Take a breath Sunny.

10. Ritva Tiihonen

The lesson here is that a classic terrorist may still remain Arab or maybe Palestinian, which is almost the same since Palestinians are ancient greeks mixed more or less with Arabic blood.

But wait, Arabs too are classified as whites / Caucasian.
So Tim J. was maybe right here.

But are we stub-born racist to concentrate this much on the colour of the skin, and if possible, try to make it darker / whiter – depending on the case ?

11. Shatterface

The photo of Tamerlan shows the same skin colour as the illustration.

I’m pretty sure you’d be calling him brown if he’d been the victim of a racist attack and not the perpetrator.

It’s quite clear they’ve been darkened in the illustrations. Sunny has posted their photos to demonstrate.

Their noses are bigger too.

And they’ve been drawn in a sort of “attitude” pose to make them look scary.

It’s a pity they still dominate this story. Due process should have been allowed to take place while the victims should be more prominent. Very little is ever learnt from media analysis of criminals or the security services. You’re better off watching Spooks. At least it’s entertaining.

Their skin tones in the photographs look bleached by flash to me. Get a grip, Sunny. I know a victim is the thing to be on the left, but this post is absurd.

Photoshop is a powerful tool – used by tools with an agenda lol you can find countless photoshop fails too if you trawl enough…

Btw I’m not commenting on what those two kiddie killer tools did. Just the abilities photoshop can give you.

15. Golam Murtaza

Personally, I think the brothers’ faces on the magazine image almost resemble some sort of 1930s/40s anti-semitic caricature. Though I don’t think that was intentional at all.

Yes the faces have been given that extra darkened hue.
Why that was would be interesting to hear from the guy who drew it.
It will probably something else for the Muslim community in Birmingham to collectivly moan about.
I remember a few years ago, a BBC Question Time programme from Birmingham where many Muslims in the audience were convinced their community was being unfairly picked on by the security services (and the media) over the issue of terrorism. There had been some raids and arrests, but not that many convictions.
There have been quite a few since. Even just yesterday.
But the bigger ”crime” might be covers of this little-read magazine The Week.
It might just be that the guy can’t draw very well.
What they look like is already widely known without people being swayed by this cartoon.

Worth a footnote though perhaps.

17. Lavern B

In Sunnyworld, the true victims of these bombings are the Muslim community, followed by the Idiot Brothers traduced by “The Week”, with the actual people blown up a distant third.

SMFS at 2:


I genuinely don’t understand your point about the Australian cartoon. Enough so that I’m asking in an honest spirit of inquiry: what’s wrong with it?

I really don’t see it. It looks to me like a stylised picture of an American flag configured as something half way between a tea-pot and a comedy bomb, with a pair of dyed eagle-feathers lying on the ground. That reads to me as a reference to the insane domestic pressure cooker of hate and crosses and guns that has resulted from the US ‘Culture Wars’, with a subtle but clever reference to the real ‘culture wars’ which wiped out something like 200 million Native Americans over the course of 500 years. I don’t see what’s wrong with that?

“everyone rushing to assume a White person did it”

No, I don’t remember that at all. What I remember is Fox News speculating immediately about an ‘Al Quaeda connection’. The BBC saying ‘No Islamic terror group has taken responsibility at this time’ (very, very loaded wording!) Andrew Sullivan talking about Salafist terrorism, and so on. To the viewer, and to many of those commentators, all of those labels are proxies for ‘Arabic’.

And of course it did, eventually, become apparent that white people *did* do it. 20 out of 26 terror attacks in the United States during Obama’s Presidency have been carried out by white people, mostly but not exclusively against !white people. Think about the guy who shot up the Sikh Temple, because he thought Muslims wore turbans. Think about the guy who shot Gabrielle Giffords. And so on, and so on.

Regarding Sirota’s Salon article, again I see nothing wrong with it apart from being slightly cliched, at this stage. Commentators ranging from John Stewart to Desmond Tutu have made that basic point over and over for the last 20 years. The Tim Wise quote is particularly apposite in this version. What’s your problem with the article?

Golam Murtaza:

I think that’s what Sunny was reacting too, yes. It’s not that the illustrations are a shade darker or lighter, etc, it’s that they have clearly, and I do mean *clearly*, been caricatured deliberately as more Arabic-looking than the real men (and particularly, than the younger of them).

The cartoon is meant to suggest they were Arabic terrorists, because to so many Yanks Arab = Muslim.

19. white trash

What I remember is Fox News speculating immediately about an ‘Al Quaeda connection’ …”


The people speculating the most about it being Anglos that did it were the right wing gun-nuts, who were desperately keen for it to be one of them who got arrested so they could shriek “False Flag, False Flag, look, we are being persecuted by the evil government!!!!!!”

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